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Author Topic: just got into laser cutting  (Read 1418 times)
53Bash
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« on: January 09, 2014, 12:12:35 am »

Hackerspace I belong to bought a nice laser cutter recently (Full Spectrum Pro LF 36x24 w/ 90 watt tube).  Took the class on it, here's the test piece I made.



Material is 1/8" basswood, box is under 2" a side, so the etch detail seems rather good (original image is about 2000 pixles per side and I can make out detail down to the 5 pixle level or so).  I'm looking to put this image on a ~6" aluminum disc (engine clutch cover), there's a few ways I could go about that even though the laser can't actually cut or / etch metal.

Also working on a toy box for my kid built in similar fashion... same machine can do 1/2" inch plywood without issue!
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Otto Von Pifka
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« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2014, 11:42:20 am »

possibly paint the metal to give the laser something to destroy, either to effect the metal directly or to act as a mask for chemical/electrical etching?

looks to be a fun thing to experiment with!
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Lancelot C Flange
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« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2014, 11:53:21 am »


 you need this:

http://www.thermark.com/

 Regards

Lancelot C Flange
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53Bash
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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2014, 07:51:29 pm »

I've considered both those techniques.  I want the design actually recessed into the surface and then paint covering the recessed design, but not the main surface.  There are other factory-stock logos already on engine components which are cast as recessed designs and then 'flooded' with paint, I want to match the looks of those.  Thermark looks great, but is not a 3d effect, so some kind of resist and chemical etching seems the logical choice.

The current plan (which I've yet to test) is to
1) spray the metal part with a few layers of Plasti-Dip spraypaint as a mask
2) use the laser to burn off the mask where I want the metal etched
3) do chemical etching to create an incised design
4) brush over the whole design with high temp (engine or brake) enamel paint
5) peel the Plasti-Dip off
6) Profit!

Currently other things (the toy chest and a side project making a collection of re-positionable pipe segments for modeling exhaust systems and other pipe weldments) are taking up all my laser time.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2014, 08:04:54 pm »

Not ever having used a laser to etch wood, I'm curious.  I wonder what happens if you have a wooden surface that has been previously shellac-ed or finished with Chinese lacquer and such. What is the colour of the etched wood bits? Does it looked just "chiseled" out or burnt black?  The idea is to have contrast.
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53Bash
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« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2014, 02:08:47 am »

Etching on wood leaves a burned finish on the etched area, as shown in the top photo.  If there was a surface finish it might be possible to vaporise the finish without affecting the wood underneath, effectively just etching the shellac /lacquer / whatever.

It might be possible to reduce the char by doing multiple low power passes.  Or maybe if the chamber was flooded with inert gas, but given the vent fans, that would cost a lot.  To get similar results without the burn, a c.n.c. router makes more sense.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2014, 02:14:56 am by 53Bash » Logged
Professor Ambrose Maycock
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« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2014, 06:22:06 pm »

Can not help with marking the aluminum disc. But seen someone mention about burning the wood edges while engraving. Here is a post about using tape to stop the edge burn from the laser.

http://www.signwarehouse.com/blog/tape-laser-engraving-wood-without-burn-marks/
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caramelwhistle
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« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2014, 12:08:44 am »

What about a overlay, cut out the pattern of one material, overlay it firmly to the second.

The second should be protected by the first a lesser charring to the edges of the recess?

Basically a protective stencil.
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53Bash
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« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2014, 04:39:14 pm »

Yes, a sacrificial surface coating avoids char damage to the surrounding surface area (both for cuts and etching), by keeping hot gasses off the surface.  Isn't an issue for me yet, but probably worth keeping in mind when I cut that toybox from .5" furniture grade plywood. 
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BaronMiguel
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« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2014, 03:31:30 am »

I have a 60 watt Epilog.  I do a lot of glass, wood and anodized aluminum.  For steel, Cermark is the way to go unless you are using one something like the Epilog FiberMark (my next purchase)
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